Local school districts continue to make changes to address learning loss linked to pandemic

Standardized test results have dropped significantly in Virginia for the first time since the start of the pandemic. As the first term comes to an end, school districts scramble to help struggling students catch up.

Test results tell teachers what they already know: Students should be in the classroom. In the 2020-2021 school year, the success rates for Commonwealth students were just 69% for reading, 54% for math and 59% for science.

“We’re really focused on 6-12 literacy and it might sound crazy, but literacy is the gateway to all content,” said Dr Allison Jordan.

Dr Jordan is the director of education for the schools in the city of Lynchburg and said the tests showed which areas students are doing well and which are struggling.

“If the entire cohort of students has not mastered the skill, it will be approached in a group setting,” she added.

The scores are even lower for minority students, economically disadvantaged students and people with disabilities. Schools in Roanoke and Radford City are seeing similar trends.

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“We’re particularly seeing a decline in math,” said Robert Graham.

Radford Graham superintendent said they were sending students home early on Wednesday to give teachers more time to prepare.

“We are trying to do our best to protect this time, so that they can focus on planning and collaborating with their teammates,” he said.

This is something that schools in the city of Lynchburg will also begin on November 10, with a new reading program for the youngest.

“It will also give teachers time to make contact with the families of the students who are out to make sure they don’t fall behind,” said Crystal Edwards, school superintendent for the city of Lynchburg.

More than $ 60 million has been set aside at the state level to help schools cope with the impact of COVID-19 on learning.

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